OSU President Drake visits Mansfield campus, community
Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake visited the Mansfield campus on Friday, March 3, meeting with members of the university and community to discuss the future of the campus.
Beginning on the campus, Dr. Drake greeted Ohio State Mansfield faculty and staff with praise for their efforts and successes, and then answered questions posed by Faculty Assembly President David Tovey and Mansfield Staff Advisory Council President Collin Palmer. He spoke about
improving access to professional development for staff and the importance of online learning at the regional campuses.
Drake then attended a leadership luncheon in downtown Mansfield with members of the campus and community. He served as the keynote speaker at the luncheon hosted by the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Destination Mansfield/Richland County and the Richland Community Development Group.
During the luncheon, Dr. Drake highlighted The Ohio State University’s plan to improve opportunity and affordability for moderate and low-income families. “A couple of years ago we squeezed down administrative costs. We looked at efficiencies, and then took that money and sent it straight back to the students and their families in a program called ‘Affordability Grants.’”
More than 700 students have received these Affordability Grants to attend Ohio State Mansfield.
“Our regional campuses are crucial to our focus on access and affordability,” said Dr. Drake. “It’s great to see the hard work at Ohio State Mansfield.” As an example, he noted a new project to help advisers track students’ performance. “We also have a very active pilot program in data analytics to get those things that we learn to help advise students on how to be more successful.” Drake emphasized the ways in which regional campuses like Ohio State Mansfield are vital to the success of the university as a whole. The Mansfield campus ranks second in the state and seventeenth in the country in graduation and retention rates.
Sue Scheutzow, a social work major, was recognized by Dean Gavazzi at the luncheon as an exemplary student. She said, “For me, my name and OSU have to be intertwined, and this happened only because of the regional Mansfield campus. Dr. Drake recognized that we had an increase in student admissions from Northeast Ohio. The Mansfield campus can capitalize on that!”
Dr. Drake said the investment in a college education is worth the cost, “Whatever the cost of going to college is, the value comes from getting the program completed and being able to go off and join your community. Anything we can do to help people to get their degrees and make the time to the degree as reasonable as possible will dramatically decrease the cost and dramatically increase the value.”
Following the luncheon, Ohio Representative Mark Romanchuk, President Drake, and Dean Gavazzi led a spirited discussion with Mansfield community leaders that emphasized the partnerships between Ohio State Mansfield, which educates many of Mansfield’s future leaders, and the business community, which provides social and economic support (and students!) to the university.
President Drake also answered questions from students. He helped ease the nerves of second-year psychology major Arielle Gibson, who was worried about how she will fit in on the Columbus campus after coming from the tight-knit Mansfield campus. He offered to have lunch with Gibson when she arrived on the Columbus campus to show her how she can fit in and to introduce her to new friends on campus.
Following the luncheon, students from organizations across campus had an opportunity to sit down and discuss their plans with President Drake during a session at the Marketplace on campus.
Kayla Garrabrant, an early and middle childhood education major, emphasized the importance of the president’s visit for the students, “I have met him before here on the Mansfield campus. It shows how important the students are to him and how much our regional campus means to the university in its entirety.”
Many of the students at Ohio State Mansfield will transfer to the Columbus campus to finish their degrees. Jessica Pierson, a criminology and criminal justice major, is one of those students making the transition. “I asked Dr. Drake about the class he teaches,” she said. “I think it’s important that he stays connected with the students in that way.” President Drake teaches a course on the music of the civil rights movement on the Columbus campus.
Before heading back to Columbus, Dr. Drake posed for pictures with students. He even showed his love for Ohio State Mansfield by posing with the students doing the famous “O”!